A résumé is a tool to get the employer’s attention. You need a well-written, up-to-date résumé to market yourself effectively. An attention-getting résumé is one that conveys your personal brand (learn more about personal branding here) — the unique combination of skills, achievements and abilities that shows you are an outstanding candidate for the job.
What All Résumés Should Have
- Contact information: name, mailing address, phone and email address
- Brief statement of your key experience and strengths. This is optional, but many career experts recommend it as a way to convey key information at a glance.
- Work experience that is relevant to the job for which you are applying
- Skills, areas of expertise and specific accomplishments
- Education, training and certifications
- Awards, professional memberships and volunteer work — if relevant to the job
What Will Make Your Résumé Stand Out From the Crowd
Use an Attention-Getting Design
Never underestimate the importance of a well-designed résumé. The recruiter will immediately notice your résumé and be inclined to read it. Don’t overcrowd the page. Be sure to leave plenty of white space.
Keep It Brief
Most résumés should not be longer than two pages. Avoid large paragraphs and use short sentences or bullet points that provide small, digestible pieces of information. Remember, the purpose of your résumé is to generate enough interest in you to have an employer contact you for an interview. Use the interview to provide a more detailed explanation of your accomplishments and get that job offer. So your résumé doesn’t need to go into detail about every accomplishment.
Proofread…Then Proofread Again!
One typo can send your résumé to the trash. Make sure to carefully proofread your résumé various times before submitting to a recruiter or prospective employer. Also, it’s a good idea to have someone else review your résumé. Since you are so close to your situation, it can be difficult for you to hit all your high points and clearly convey all your accomplishments. Have someone review your job search objective, your résumé, and listings of positions that interest you. Encourage them to ask questions. Their questions can help you to discover items you inadvertently left off your résumé.
Use Titles or Headings That Match The Jobs You Want
With employers receiving hundreds of résumés you must make sure that your résumé hooks an employer’s attention within a 5-second glance. A great way to do this is to use job titles and skill headings that relate to and match the jobs you want.
Quantify and Use Power or Action Words
Numbers, dollars, and percentages stand out in the body of a résumé. Using numbers and quantifying creates vivid images in our mind when we read them, whereas general statements like the before examples are easy to skip over or forget. Typically the more specific you can be in describing your duties the better. Quantify your achievements, results and outcomes and use action verbs. For example, “increased sales by 65%,” “decreased annual expenditures by $50,000,” “exceeded monthly quota.”
Tweak and Target Your Résumé to Match the Employers Needs
Tailor your résumé to the specific job you’re applying for. Don’t send the same résumé to hundreds of employers. Read the job description closely, and use the key words listed in these ads, and match them to the bullet points in your résumé. To beat today’s heavy competition for jobs, it’s important that you identify and anticipate the full range of needs each employer faces and show how you can solve those needs.
Accent the Positive
And leave off negatives and irrelevant points. If you feel your date of graduation will subject you to age discrimination, leave the date off your résumé. If you do some duties in your current job that don’t support your job search objective, leave them off your résumé. Focus on the duties that do support your objective.
Lead with Your Strengths
Résumés are typically reviewed in 30 seconds, so take the time to determine which bullets most strongly support your job search objective and put strong points first where they are more apt to be read.
Always Include a Cover Letter
Another important part of your résumé is the cover letter. A good cover letter is like an introduction about the candidate and helps the recruiters understand your personality, which is half the battle won. Click here for tips on writing a cover letter.
Get Your Résumé Out There
A wonderfully written résumé does no good unless you put it out there. Click here to send us your résumé today!